What Is "The Story of an Hour" by Kate Chopin About?

Kate Chopin's "The Story of an Hour" is a short story written in terse paragraphs in order to reflect just an hour of a woman's experience believing her husband has died. The structure mirrors the brief but intense moments in which the protagonist, Louise Mallard, imagines life newly independent. Throughout the story, Chopin repeats words, such as "open" and "free," to emphasize Louise's shocking sentiments.

The way in which the hour of Louise's life proceeds reflects that this is a woman who is in some way seeking to identify and assert her true self. It is implicit that she has been living more for her husband than for herself up until this moment.